Smith, Kant and de Gaulle

The relationship between France, Germany and Britain is at the heart of the European story. Three historical figures embody it.

General de Gaulle on 18 June 1940 in the recording studio of the BBC at Broadcasting House, London.Never in recent history has a single news story so dominated the media agenda as Brexit. The unexpected referendum result of June 2016 brought to the surface tensions present since Britain entered the Common Market in 1973, as European integration developed by stealth through treaty change. This had been stymied by a culture of ‘opt outs’, leaving Britain outside the single currency, social charter and Schengen migration arrangements. But treaty changes began to impact on Britain’s semi-detachment, with developments such as the single market, ironically a British-designed construct.

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